The dispute over public education in the province has one parent starting her own protest in hopes one voice will turn into hundreds or thousands.
Louise Wallace is the parent of two boys, one in Grade 4, the other in Grade 6. She is frustrated at the ongoing dispute and feeling powerless, so she has decided to take her own strike day and let Education Minister Peter Fassbender and Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo know exactly what kind of financial impact this is having on the economy.
Pending the outcome of the rotating strikes, Wallace is also considering pulling her two kids out of school for the rest of the year.
Realizing that every parent’s situation is different, Wallace is encouraging other parents to take some type of action to let elected officials know what impact the teachers bargaining situation is having.
“We need to remember that we own public education. My view is that Christy Clark does not share the majority of B.C. citizen’s appreciation for the importance of a healthy public education system. So this is about parents taking back ownership of the system. My suggestion is to do a peaceful, personal protest act and share it with your friends, your networks and the political reps.”
Wallace suggests every parent send an email or letter to their MLA about how the job action is affecting them.
“For some parents it may not be reasonable to take the day off, so they have to pay out of their pockets for day care. We should be letting politicians know that this money has come out of our pockets and is money that has to be made up somewhere, money that isn’t being spent in other areas of the economy.”
Wallace points out that School District #83 is the Shuswap’s largest employer, something she believes is often overlooked.
“Public education is a powerful economic engine,” she says. “Imagine the uproar if the region’s largest private business announced it was cutting wages by 10 per cent.”
In a blog post on the subject, Wallace goes on to say, “I’m sorry but if any other industry knocked on Ms. Clark’s door and said ‘Umm excuse me, if this doesn’t get sorted, we’ll lose 154 million dollars in productivity next week,’ I’m pretty sure she’d pick a power suit, find a microphone and offer up a solution on the six o’clock news.”
That blog posting has already generated more than 5,000 hits.
“It’s definitely struck a nerve,” she said. “Parents are frustrated and wondering what are their options in all of this.”
Wallace will have her own walk-out on Tuesday and will be letting the government know exactly how it has impacted the local economy’s bottom line. She will decide whether she will increase her own actions following Tuesday’s job action.